The Integro Doodson Sport League Cup looks to be Ilkeston’s only hope of silverware remaining this season and they assured progress to the quarter-finals with a comfortable win on Monday night.
Visitors Daventry, from the division below, are having problems off the field and brought just 13 players to the New Manor Ground, but despite a decent first-half they couldn’t assert any real authority on the tie and were well beaten.
Ilkeston again had a very young team on show but they coped well with the ‘favourites’ tag on this occasion to seal a morale-boosting win that was rarely in doubt.
Ilkeston dominated the early possession but it was the visitors who came very close to scoring ten minutes in when Adam Creaney’s cross-shot from the right clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over the bar.
Mike Williams, who would again put a considerable shift in all evening, then posed the Robins’ first threat when he shot inches wide of the post following a pull-back from Dan Udoh, Edilson Panzo-Antonio then just too high at the other end as Daventry continued to look a reasonable threat going forward.
The Robins should have gone in front on 24 when Curtis Burrows was sent through the middle by Udoh’s flick but one-on-one with keeper Ben Heath he could only fire straight at the Daventry custodian’s legs and the visitors cleared.
Scott Cross fired straight at Jamie Hannis in the Ilkeston goal but the opening goal finally came the Robins’ way on 29 minutes.
Williams didn’t have a great deal on when on the ball 30 yards out so opted to have a crack at goal and his low shot went in off the post, Heath appearing to leave the ball thinking it was going wide.
The Robins then had a goal disallowed when Dexter Atkinson netted from close range but had moved too soon, a single goal lead all the hosts would boast at the break.
Atkinson was released early in the second-half but saw his shot blocked by Heath for a corner,
The second goal came on the hour mark and it was a cracker. An attack down the left saw Keenan Meakin’s cross break to Udoh and he controlled 15 yards out before hammering a fine effort in off the post to put the game beyond Daventry who had offered nothing in the second-half thus far.
That was until Hannis was forced into a stunning point-blank save to deny Cross who met a ball into the six yard box with a powerful volley that Hannis pushed away superbly.
Heath was then in equally good form at the other end to deny Haydn Goddard whose looping header was superbly clawed away when it looked almost certain to be a goal.
The third goal did, however, soon arrive on 79 minutes as a counter-attack saw Ilkeston in a three-on-one situation and Udoh slid in Atkinson who finished low into the net to round off the scoring.
Burrows headed a Matt Baker cross wide from six yards out with five minutes left and the same player was inches wide with another effort in injury-time, but the damage had been done and Ilkeston will now head to Kidsgrove Athletic in the quarter-finals.
Ilkeston: 1 Jamie Hannis, 2 Luke Shaw (Connor Walters 72), 3 Aiden Print, 4 Jordan Wheatley, 5 Matt Baker (c), 6 Haydn Goddard, 7 Curtis Burrows, 8 Keenan Meakin, 9 Dan Udoh, 10 Mike Williams (Luis Rose 72), 11 Dexter Atkinson (Ben Morris 79)
Subs not used: Ryan Head
Daventry: 1 Ben Heath, 2 Dan Childs, 3 John Bukasa, 4 Ricky Hill, 5 Jason Lee (c), 6 Barry Deacon, 7 Adam Creaney (Nkosi Mzungwana 72), 8 Joe Curtis, 9 Edilson Panzo-Antonio, 10 Scott Cross, 11 Karabo Motshweni
Sub not used: Neil Champelovier
Ref: Declan Burne
Star Robin: Dan Udoh